UK Finance has confirmed that more first-time buyers took out mortgages in 2017 than in any year since the financial crisis.
365,000 people took ownership of their first home last year, the highest number since 2006 and 7.4% more than in 2016. UK Finance, the trade body for Britain’s banks. Its data also showed that the average age of a first-time buyer was 30 and had an average income of £41,000.
Experts have largely attributed this boom to the government’s Help to Buy scheme, alongside lower deposits and cheaper mortgage deals but warn that the boom may quickly wane.
Despite stamp duty being cut for first time buyers in the November budget, the figures from December show the number of first time buyers was lower than December 2016.
Paul Smee of UK Finance has also noted that “We are also seeing a less buoyant buy-to-let market, which continues to be impacted by recent tax and regulatory changes. This will continue to flatten gross lending volumes this year.”
The affordability crisis still looms, with separate figures from the Office for National Statistics revealing that house price inflation was 5.2%, raising the average price of a typical UK home to £226,760. For the fifth consecutive year, house price growth has outpaced average earnings; between 2012 and 2017, house prices have increased by 22% more than earnings cumulatively.
Brian Murphy of the Mortgage Advice Bureau said that the figures suggested a “flat market” in 2018. He added that it was “a reassuring result given political and economic factors, and also provides us with a steady start for 2018″.